I’m spoiled. I’ve become pretty accustomed over the last seven or so years to seeing clubs before others do. It’s part of the job, it’s a privilege, and I take it seriously. So even when a space has a past, I try always to approach it with a fresh pair of eyes.
Imagine my surprise (and relief) when halfway through my tour of Gallery Nightclub and the adjacent Pussycat Dolls Burlesque Saloon (formerly Privé Nightclub and the Living Room Lounge), I realized I had been entirely thrown off by about 90 degrees, completely turned around by the changes. Maybe it was the degree of doneness (not very at that time) or the bright construction lights, but it was all new to me.
The completed project—opening April 15 courtesy of Diversified Entertainment Group, including partners also behind Chateau Nightclub & Gardens and Sugar Factory American Brasserie—will give this hitherto deserted corner of Planet Hollywood what it wants: much needed love and attention, and a giant bathtub full of sexy.
Guests will enter one of two ways: VIPs and table reservations from the casino floor, ascending via the escalator to be dropped off where the two rooms converge and where they will be greeted by women dancing in alcoves. General-admission guests will take the casino escalator by Heart Bar up to the mezzanine and queue-up where two doors sit side-by-side, one leading directly into the Saloon, the other to Gallery through a long hallway. Here as in the main room, open 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday, photographic scenes from inside famous castles and galleries (Versailles, Château de Fontainebleau, Napoleon’s bedroom …) are depicted larger than life as wall coverings, interspersed with black walls encrusted with more than 1,000 brass grommets.
The big reveal comes as guests enter the main room, where the wall coverings fade into the background and provocative black-and-white photographs by L.A.’s Christian Horan pop out of the walls and bars in back-lit glory. The effect—I can only imagine—is like being locked overnight in some foreign museum only to discover that an Eyes Wide Shut-style bacchanal is already in full swing, complete with two bars, fireplace, an extended patio (to debut by Labor Day weekend), a DJ reigning supreme from aloft and all of your best scantily clad new friends.
“We fully rebuilt and redesigned the previous space to maximize the rooms and ensure that there is not one bad seat in the house,” says partner Billy Richardson. “The glamorous design of each of the spaces sets the tone and will provide a visually inspiring experience for each and every guest.” It was Amy Kim of AK DesignNetwork that did the honors.
Above the dance floor, women will writhe in music-induced ecstasy, suspended from the trusses in one of three trapeze nets. Booths are taken to the grandest scale—oversize and über-tufted weathered sable or butter-soft pale gold leather with large, wide spaces behind and in between. A nimble lady might traverse half the club via this VIP highway and never touch foot to ground!
Mirroring the back hallway, another arm wraps around the main room, connecting it to the Saloon. Here, a red-mirrored passageway meets a gold rotunda with a few peek-a-boo architectural cutouts for keeping an eye on the main floor. Here as elsewhere, guests are invited to watch while the staff skiffs about in barely there couture lingerie.
In partnership with Pussycat Dolls creator Robin Antin, the Saloon will be Vegas’ sexiest circus, where Coyote Ugly meets the original Pussycat Dolls Lounge, featuring seemingly spontaneous interactive performances on the wraparound stage, catwalk, two rhinestoned carousel horses, dance platforms and a porcelain bathtub throughout the night, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Here, booths bring guests nose-to-toes with sexy Pussycat Dolls dancing on the bar, the backs of the VIP booths—everywhere.
Gallery is fairly large at 20,000 square feet, and the Saloon more intimate at about 4,500. The two venues connect at three points, making it easy for guests to pass back and forth, and simple to lock down one space or the other for a private event. The catering kitchen that came with the club will come in mighty handy. “Both venues bring something new and energizing to the property,” Richardson says, “and we’re looking forward to offering Las Vegas visitors and locals alike two new nightlife spots to enjoy.”
Together, Gallery and the Saloon form a sort of yin-yang proposition: one room that is voyeuristic and seductive, enticing you to perhaps behave badly in a dark corner with someone you haven’t been properly introduced to, and another where behaving badly is celebrated and set to music in broad stage light. With so many ways to misbehave, how ever is a girl supposed to choose?